Friday, January 22, 2010

Getting the word out

And what word am I referring to here?  That the teachings of Christian Science are of inestimable value in one's daily life, not only where overcoming illness is concerned, but with other challenges.  What I'm thinking about this morning is help in financial challenges, which millions are concerned with now.  Earlier today I happened to run across something I had posted on supply which was on a website not familiar to me--in Portugal.  Someone had picked up one of my blog posts, translated it into their own language (read a bit different from what I wrote, but the message was there.) 

At any rate, it inspired me to pick up some of the key points in that piece to share with readers around the world who need a helping hand right now.

Years ago, when I was about to leave a steady income for the adventure of self-employment, in telling a friend about my engulfing fear, he said to me, "Why, income is within."  He was, of course, directing my thoughts to Christ Jesus' teaching that the kingdom of God is within us.  These were not just airy words, said to bolster my courage.  This man, a former Hollywood director, had felt led to leave his work and enter the full-time practice of Christian Science.  With two children in college, no less.  As he had proved his statement in spades, I did listen.  Still, I was scared.  But what have I found over the years and through many challenges?  That our loving Father does not let us down when we're serving Him, that what our dear Master taught is true--that all good is already within us as God's very own. 

Besides the assurance of Jesus, one of the most helpful things to me was something the Discoverer and Founder of my religion, Mary Baker Eddy, once said:  "When you stand before a mirror and look at your reflection, it is the same as the original.  Now you are God's reflection.  If His hands are full, your hands are full, if you image Him.  You cannot know lack."  (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, page l34)

So, all the best as you embark on finding out what Jesus said is true.  What I did, you can do.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

God With Us

(c)  By:  Sharon Slaton Howell

"God is with you
In everything you do"* --
Words so very true,
Meant for me and you;
On a bookmark they are,
A friend sent from afar.
Whether night or day,
At home or when away,
Feeling up and cheery,
Or glum and weary,
A powerful thought this --
That our loving Father is
Never apart from us.
Is this not glorious? --
That His care does surround;
His loving arms are around
All those we love,
Beside them always, above --
And not only ones we greet,
But those we may never meet.
What would mankind do
If this were not true?
Oh, but it is the case,
Something one cannot erase.
God with us -- what a treasure,
Its comfort beyond all measure.


(From my book "Precious - Collected Poems", 2009)

Friday, January 15, 2010

On Helping in Haiti

(c)  By:  Sharon Slaton Howell

Apart from sending money and/or goods,

What can one person do from so far away,

Is probably a thought many have

Who have seen the pitiful scenes from Haiti.

But for those of us who believe in God,

Who have witnessed and felt in our own lives

His all-embracing love and power,

It strikes me, we can pray --

Pray not for just those who lie under rubble

And desperately need to be freed,

But for those helpers so selfless,

Working night and day.

I will pray for their sustenance and safety, too.

They deserve compassion, in my view.

Our heavenly Father is on the ground there.

He has infinite means of giving aid,

And we have the mighty aid of prayer.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Internet -- A Present From God?

Happened to read in The Wall Street Journal the other night an arresting statement from a Chinese dissident who said, "The Internet is a present from God to China."  I have no doubt that it has proved so.  Countless Chinese have found a freedom that can't be squelched.  And now we see Google taking an admirable stand against official clamp-downs.

But what this remark made me think is, how grateful I am for the Internet.  The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy points out in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:  "In the material world, thought has brought to light, with great rapidity, many useful wonders."  As to the question I posed in my title, I do feel, on balance, that the Internet is a present to us from on High, from the One divine intelligence, God. 

Speaking for just one contributor to cyberspace, can't be grateful to God enough for the freedom I have found.  What joy to get inspired to share a thought, an article, a poem and then be able to send it out across the globe without it's being heavily edited, my meaning changed!  Is everything that is posted on those of us who have found a means of communicating our thoughts undreamed of just a few years ago all worth reading?  Of course not.  But when all is taken into account, I say God bless those who have given us such a "useful wonder".

Sunday, January 10, 2010

When Discord Rears It's Ugly Head

Was just reading something in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, and it called to thought a most interesting experience I had several years ago when I lived in the Boston area.  I was in my downtown practitioner's office one day, when someone I had been helping called to ask if she could come in from the suburbs for an office visit.  Soon she arrived, and about midway in the conversation, she suddenly became very agitated -- angry actually.  I was so surprised having known this woman for some time.  It wasn't long until things almost got out of control, and for a moment, I wondered if I might be physically set upon. 

I prayed quietly to know God was in control of the situation and didn't even try to explain the comment that must have disturbed her so.  She did leave. and for some time, I sat there, feeling, Whoa, what in the world was that?!  But before long, this passage from the above book (page 207) came strongly to mind, and I share it here.  "The spiritual reality is the scientific fact in all things.  The spiritual fact, repeated in the action of man and the whole universe, is harmonious and is the ideal of Truth.  Spiritual facts are not inverted; the opposite discord, which bears no resemblance to spirituality, is not real."  It was this last thought of the unreality of discord which turned the situation around for me.  And for her, obviously.  As about an hour later, she called and apologized.  The whole problem just melted away. 

Once again, the teachings of Christian Science proved to be beneficial in my life, and I am so grateful to God for them.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Discouragement is gratuitous

(c)  By:  Sharon Slaton Howell

If discouragement and self-pity

Were from our heavenly Father,

We would do the best

We could with it,

And grow stronger thereby.

But it isn't from God;

It's from the devil.

And while we're wallowing in it,

And wallowing is not too strong a word,

(Picture yourself doing this --

Dignified isn't it?)

We're lost in self

And can't be about our business

Of loving and serving others.

Remember this:

It isn't primarily us the devil is after;

It's too interfere with Christ

Working in us to bless others.

Some thoughts on supply

(Following along on a previous blog post on the topic of finding work,  I hope the following thoughts might be useful to someone on the vast Internet who is struggling with lack of supply.  Christian Science, having done a lot for me in this direction, I owe it to the world to help where I can.)

Did you know that it is entirely possible for any person to move through these economically challenging times undisturbed, having all he needs?    Well, you can.   In fact, you  can start right now to eliminate lack from his thought and life.  People have as much right to be saved from poverty as from sin and disease.  And this salvation is possible through the understanding that we are the spiritual creation of God, illimitable good, and that we have the right to show forth the infinite good of our true being here and now.

Despite the world's belief that we are mortals with material needs that somehow must be supplied from without, the truth is we are God's perfect, spiritual offspring, maintained forever by Him in a state of completeness.

Numerous statements showing the illegitimacy of lack can be found in the Bible.  For example, we are plainly told in Genesis 1 that God gave the man He created dominion over all the earth.  But how very little dominon there is in struggling to eke out enough money for food and rent!  The solution is to realize that we are not mortals, that our heavenly Father has made us as His spiritual expression, to express His fullness -- not to gravel for good.  Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (page 260):  Science reveals the possibility of achieving all good, and sets mortals at work to discover what God has already done..."

Divine Principle finished its work.  When God created us, He left nothing out, not one jot of what we need to bear Him joyful witness.  All that the false, physical senses can do is to close our eyes -- in belief -- to the infinite spiritual good we have always had.

Christ Jesus showed mankind the way to master fear of not having enough.  He revealed the precise whereabouts of all true good -- its infinitude -- when he delcared, "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:  neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there!  for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."  (Luke 17:20, 21)

Our dear Lord and Master also revealed God's bountiful care of His children in the parable of the prodigal, the son who ran through his inheritance.  The young man finally came to his senses, Luke tells us, and returned home.  For this ragged sinner any old clothes would have sufficied, but, no, the loving and generous father ordered the best rob for his son -- and a ring and shoes and a sumptuous feast.  Jesus was telling us this is how our heavenly Father treats us when we come to ourselves and go home -- when we awake through Christ, Truth, to our true status as God's spiritual offspring and to the good eternally ours.

Jesus also told us how to demosntrate abundance consistently, "Give, and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom.  For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."  (6:38)  Whatever our line of work, practicing our true selfhood through self-forgetful service, through lovingly doing for others, in turn supplies our own needs.

A person may be failing to demonstrate the abundance of his true being because, like a doubting Thomas, he is thinking:  "Show me the money, then I'll believe God can provide the rent."    But God demands of us the same radical reliance on Him in a situation of lack as in a physical difficulty.  We have to look beyond what the material senses are saying about us and our financial condition, and recognize ourselves as the complete idea of inexhaustible good, incapable of experienceing limitation of any kind.  I have learned that to conquer lack one must realize the omnipresence of Spirit as the only true substance.

It's right to have all we need -- to have abundance.  It's impossible not to when we grasp the fact that as God's idea, we continuously reflect the fullness of infinite Spirit.  Christian Science clears up the misconception many God-fearing people have that somehow one is nearer God when lacking the world's goods.  But this is not what Jesus taught and proved at all.

Something the Discoverer and Founder of my religion once said to a student of hers has helped me immensely.  "When first establishing this Cause, I needed money, but I have now learned that God is with me, that He gives me everything, and I cannot lack."  She also said:  "When you stand before a mirror and look at your reflection, it is the same as the original.  Now you are God's reflection.  If His hands are full, your hands are full, if you image Him.  You cannot know lack."  (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, page 134)

On this powerful note, I shall leave it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Finding Work in Tough Times

Don't we all know from news reports that millions are worried about being unemployed,  and feeling frustrated at not being able to find a job.

For any one out there in cyberspace who may run across my blog, I want to say this:  fortunately, we are not at the mercy of such conditions.  Whether or not we know it, we are constantly in God's care.  People have said to me, "Wait until my problem is solved, then I'll stop worrying."  What do I say to this?  That Christian Science shows a person can be secure in all circumstances -- even if they lose their job!

Man, and this means every last one of us, is created by God, divine Love, to express His nature.  Because he expresses God, man is both spiritual and perfect.  And because Mind's ideas are always active, man is actively employed all the time. His real business is to express the divine nature, and there is nothing that can prevent him from being about the business of expressing God.  Man can never be "out of work".

This divine activity or employment goes on continuously, forever out of reach of economic ups-and-downs.  When we ourselves are in the full-time "business" of reflecting our Father's intelligence, ability, inspiration, we will be supplied with everything we need.  And if this includes a job, then we will have that too.

Mary Baker Eddy writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (page 494), "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need."  A distraught widow I knew when we lived in Seoul who had six children to support found this to be true.

One afternoon she was notified that the job she had been doing for seven years was being consolidated with another and the company had nothing else to offer her.  To make things worse, there was no recourse for financial assistance of any kind, and there were no relatives or friends to whom she could go for help.

However, she happened to run into a student of Christian Science, a friend of ours who also attended the little church we did.  She had seen this woman at her place of business.  Upon learning of her plight, our friend assured the widow that God's help is always available. This fellow church member was also a Christian Science practitioner, who assured the worried mother that she could find help in God.  The practitioner explained that man's real employment, which is to serve God by expressing spiritual qualities, cannot be interrupted.  She stressed the truth of man's unity with his heavenly Father, divine, infinite Love, and she gave the woman this statement from Christ Jesus to think about:  "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine"  (Luke 15:31).

When the mother left the practitioner, she felt uplifted and hopeful.  After a week or so, during which she made an earnest effort to express Godlike qualities -- to really express in human terms her true selfhood as the image and likeness of God -- she heard of a position for which she applied and was accepted.

In this particular instance, the woman's need was met by quickly locating a job.  Sometimes, however, it may not work out precisely that way.  God fills our needs, and our real need at the moment may include something more than quickly finding a job.  Perhaps we need to gain a better understanding of God as the source of all good.  Times of stress bring lessons to be learned, and the sooner we learn them, the better, for with the learning comes the blessing.  And the blessing will be manifested in a form both practical and tangible, and it will meet our needs.

I've seen this so many times in my life, not only for others, but for myself.  As we understand what Jesus taught about man's unity with God, and truly accept that our  loving Father provides for His children abundantly, the right work will open up---even in tough times.

God's Gifts All Around

(c)  By:  Sharon Slaton Howell

In my view, nature is one big poem
just waiting to be written.
No end are the possibilities
for artistic expression and fulfillment
for those who see God in everything --
infinite themes to lose oneself in.
Take trees, for one example;
one could spend hours at a time
just capturing the  way
light plays on trunks.
Or rocks, and the many
shades and patterns of the moss
clinging thereto.
Whether would-be painter or poet --
moved in contemplation,
touched by inspiration --
let us thank our generous Father.

Christ Our Deliverer

(c)  By:  Sharon Slaton Howell

Have been thinking about
something off and on --
the help Christ gives
His servants, His very own.
As John 8:36 makes clear,
"If the Son therefore
shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed."
How many times when in need
of circumstances adjusted --
and I have in Him trusted --
has this been proven true.
And what has worked for me,
will certainly work for you.
How often solutions can appear
in ways we couldn't have planned,
when we put our confidence in
our Deliverer ever at hand.

Gifts Unspeakable

Around Christmas time, I posted a poem on a Swedish website titled "Gift Unspeakable".  It struck me as the raison d'etre of the whole celebration Christians observe, and it highlighted someone I have long admired for his nobility of character--American Civil War General, Robert E. Lee.  I read once that he was often heard by his soldiers to say, "Have I thanked You enough today for Your unspeakable gift?"  It was, of course, Jesus he was referring to.  And I thought, just think of the influence for good on the people who heard him say it,  and those who have read his heartfelt words since.

Being such a recipient of the blessings that have come to me and those I know through Christian Science, I have to add an "s" to the word gift.  It just would not be possible to express enough thanks to God for what I believe He has given a world so in need of the truths Christ Jesus healed by--those found in the teachings of the Science of Christ, discovered and given to mankind by Mary Baker Eddy.  How rich my life is because of Christ and Christian Science!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Turning to God for help

One evening a little girl I knew was happily building a castle with wooden blocks.  She stopped, however, when the pieces wouldn't fit, and without a moment's hesitation called out, "Help me, Daddy."  This plea brought her loving parent's immediate assistance.

As I observed this simple display of childlike confidence, I thought, "If adults would only turn as wholeheartedly to their heavenly Father, how much more easily would complex, challenging problems be resolved!"

Each one of us, regardless of circumstances or problems, can turn immediately to God, divine Love, our ever-present help.

Christ Jesus taught this.  He said, "If y then, beign evil, know how to give good gifts unto you children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"  (Matthew 7:11)

In the chapter entitled "Prayer" in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes (p. 1), "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faiththat all things are possible to God, -- a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love."

I know many people who have gained this spiritual understanding of God which is the divinely effective "asking" of unselfed love.  As one bases his prayer on a desire to know more of God's spiritual, perfect creation, he is seeking divine help in the most effective way possible.  Christian Science shows that true prayer is the discernment, through spiritual understanding, of God's perfect universe, including man.

Acknowledging the truth of man's inseparable relationship with God, divine Mind, who knows and imparts only good, one brings his consciousness into line with spiritual perfection, and harmony replaces discord.  The understanding of God's all-pervading goodness, of His constant love for all His children, is effective prayer.

Through my study and application of Christian Science, I have been able to demonstrate to a heartwarming degree the understanding of God's ever-presence and ceaseless love that sustains us under all conditions.  And I have found peace, joy, ability and good health.  The acknowledgement that we are spiritual, the reflection of infinite Life and Love, is prayer that heals.

In the Bible is this eternal assurance:  "With us is the Lord our God to help us, and to fight our battles" (II Chronicles 32:8)  How comforting to know that we always have instant recourse to our Father's ever-present love, that whatever our particular battle may be -- physical, financial, emotional, moral -- we may ask God for help, confident of obtaining the victory!


(c)  By:  Sharon Slaton Howell

Puppy jumping all over

Delighted little boy --

Heartwarming picture,

Vividly impressive.

The warmth and affection

Of dog and child,

Radiating across the street to me.

No worry resting heavily,

No jaded view of life there,

Just sheer joy in the moment.

No wonder Jesus called for us

To  be like a little child.

(Matthew 18:3)

On writing poems for Christ

(c)  By:  Sharon Slaton Howell

What motivates one in so doing,

If not to honor God's Son?

Is it not the hope that even any of

What our Master said and taught

Shall become dwellers

In the hearts of men?

And so lodged,

Lead an individual to obey,

And obeying God's Word,

Find the joy and purpose in life,

Obtainable in no other way?

Jesus said of his words that

They shall not pass away,

Though everything else perish.

And those adoring souls who do

What they can to pass along

Jesus' sublime teachings

Can see their poetry --

If they listen well to inspiration divine --

Reach the hearts of those now living,

And those lives yet to be.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

On grasping opportunity

Too many people waste years waiting for opportunity to knock at the door of their lives, not realizing that bountiful good lies within their grasp now.  Christ Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:21)  And this is just where opportunity is too.

This kingdom of good, this absolute reign of God, divine Principle, is not dependent upon people, places or events.  It is intact -- within reach of human consciousness.  It is attainable through spiritual understanding.

Christian Science, which follows the words and works of Christ Jesus, shows one how to overcome the belief that he lacks opportunity.  Through the study of this Science he finds that man is actually the child, the spiritual reflection, of God, divine Love.  This realization helps him to turn radically away from the discouraging human picture of inactivity or frustration.  It encourages him to accept the spiritual fact that God, divine Mind, is ever active, and that man, His image, must also be continuously and happily engaged in meaningful, worthwhile activity.

In the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, asks, "Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which is pouring forth more than we accept?" (page 21)  Instead of mourning our lack of opportunity,we can rejoice in the constant unfoldment to us of all we need for a full, joyous life from our inexhaustible, divine source.  Opportunity can never really be absent.  As the Bible assures us, "God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." (II Cor. 9:8)

As one confidently claims his God-given right to satisfying purpose, joy, and achievement, he will find more and more occasions for being about his real business of reflecting God, good.

There are no closed doors to one whose consciousness is enlightened by spiritual understanding, eternal Truth.  Because God has created His child as His own perfect expression, we know that we can reflect the divine intelligence and goodness in any human circumstance.  No matter how despairing or desolate our circumstances may sometimes seem, they can be turned completely around, and we can be restored to our normal state of activity, joy, and purpose.

Finding out who we really are, beginning to grasp the glorious fact that in our true, spiritual being we are now the beloved, constantly cared-for expression of our heavenly Father, gives us the confidence and initiative we need to express more of good, more of God, in everything we do.  This is where success lies.

Someone may say, "I've had occasions to lead a useful, productive life, but I let them slip by and now it's too late."

But it isn't too late!  Mrs. Eddy writes, "Tireless Being, patient of man's procrastination, affords him fresh opportunities every hour."  (Christian Healing, page 19)  Think of it -- every hour!

Nothing brings opportunity to our door quicker than the desire to be useful to God and to our fellowmen.  We don't even have to take a very long look about us today to see how desperately needed our efforts are.  Endless opportunity abounds.  We have only to take Jesus at his word that all good is already ours.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Life Unending

(c)  By:  Sharon Slaton Howell

"Whosoever liveth and believeth
in me shall never die"
John points out Jesus said.
The Master said it, not I;
Jesus' words, not mine.
And how they do put
us in touch--here and now--
with things divine.
And that word "liveth"
to me shows us how.
To not only accept
what Jesus says as true,
but to actually live His
teachings in daily life,
what purpose this
gives me, gives you.
It takes out of life
the gloom and sigh,
and brings instead
such incentive and joy;
makes our spirits soar,
and spreads before us
an adventure in living
that only gets better,
one that will go on --
just think about this
dear readers everywhere --
An almost staggering concept,
but since Jesus said it,
without a question true.